Friday 24 November 2017

McFeely claims gardai planted €200k under bath

Former Priory hall resident Stephanie Meehan got a pre-Christmas boost. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Former Priory hall resident Stephanie Meehan got a pre-Christmas boost. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Tom McFeely. Photo: PA

Dearbhail McDonald and Conor Feehan

BANKRUPT developer Tom McFeely told an English court that gardai planted €200,000 of cash under the bath of his former Ailesbury Road home.

But the Irish court official handling the bankruptcy of the former IRA hunger striker said he was satisfied that the monies were "hidden" by the Priory Hall builder -- who failed to take the "under-the-bath cash" with him when his house was repossessed by NAMA.

The High Court in Dublin was told yesterday that a British solicitor acting on behalf of Mr McFeely had sent a letter to official assignee Chris Lehane on October 29, claiming the former developer adamantly denied that he owned the money or had left it in the house.

Mr Lehane was also provided with a witness statement that Mr McFeely completed as part of court proceedings in England where he alleged that "the money was not his but placed by An Garda Siochana".

Priory Hall widow Stephanie Meehan received a pre-Christmas boost when the new owners of Mr McFeely's home donated a €5,000 reward they received from Mr Lehane.

The €5,000 was received by Ms Meehan five months to the day after she found the body of Fiachra Daly her fiance and father of their two children. Mr Daly took his own life last July because of the stress of Priory Hall and the family's mounting mortgage debt on the death-trap apartments.


Mr Lehane also gave €2,500 each to two builders as a "reward for their honest deeds".

Last September, €140,000 was found in Mr McFeely's former home on Ailesbury Road.

A plumber involved in renovation work on the property came across it in €50 notes, shortly after the property was sold by NAMA.

Days later, gardai -- who did not make any claim in respect of the funds -- uncovered a further €60,000. The €200,000 sum was subsequently given to Mr Lehane to distribute to Mr McFeely's creditors.

Last night, Ms Meehan said she was heartened by the generosity of the people of Ireland.

"This will make such a difference to me this Christmas and in the coming months. It was such a surprise," Ms Meehan told the Irish Independent.

Mr McFeely's house was bought by Hilary Hynes, wife of public relations guru and former 'Sunday Times' Irish editor Rory Godson, who has been based in London since 2000.

Mr Godson declined to comment on the generous donation to Ms Meehan when contacted by the Irish Independent.

But in court papers, Mr Lehane said that both owners had confirmed that they wished their reward to go to "the partner of the individual who tragically took his own life recently".

As secured creditors of the bankrupt developer, Bank of Ireland and Irish Nationwide Building Society -- now part of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation -- were set to receive a sizeable portion of the stash.

Unsecured creditors, such as residents of Priory Hall, were not expected to receive any cash.

Irish Independent

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